I have just returned from a week long course on Presentation Skills. It focused on how to present a workshop using little or no notes.
There is a format which helps you to remember the steps involved but more importantly I found you really had to know your topic. This means pick something simple that you can remember or deliver on something that you really do know.
For me personally I had to go with something that made me really want to be there. Something that I felt passionate about. So I went with Goal Setting.
I only had 20 minutes to cover all of my content and I found that I was able to do this effectively. It also reminded me just how few people truly know how to Goal Set EFFECTIVELY (yes it’s highlighted because people often confuse writing a wish list with Effective Goal Setting).
“A goal not written down and with action attached to it, is just a wish.”
Here are the basics of Goal Setting as I see it, using the S.M.A.R.T Principle.
S – Specific. The key to effective goal setting is to understand exactly what you want. You must then write it as a specific goal that actually makes sense to you.
At the beginning of the year most people will write their goal as something like ‘Get Fitter’ or ‘Lose Weight’.
These are not specific goals. If you’re capable of doing one push up today and then at the end of the week you do two push ups then you’re fitter. Does this mean having the rest of the year off? (sadly for most people it does).
A specific goal would state something like: A want lose 5kg; I want to run 5km; I want to fit into a size (insert desirable size here) dress or pants.
M – Measurable. Your goal must be measurable so that if you get off track you will know straight away. Much in the way we use a map or Sat Nav to stay on track when driving somewhere. We often know the destination, but the exact route to getting there might be unclear.
If you get off track the Sat Nav will soon redirect you back to the path.
Using this same goal of ‘Get Fitter’, and relating it to the Specific above, I would use a measure like: I will exercise three times per week; I will lose 1kg per week.
As soon as you exercise less than three times then you know IMMEDIATELY that you’re off track. You can adjust the following week and work your way towards your goal.
A – Achievable. Most people struggle to reach a goal because they make it so unachievable that they never have a chance of achieving it. This then causes failure and which means they then associate goal setting, or even having a goal, as failure. It’s almost as if they’re setting themsleves up to fail in the first place.
Truth is that you need to start with achievable goals in mind that will work together to eventually bring you the bigger results that were once unrealistic for you.
Failure and success are both self-feeding animals. This means that if you experience failure and don’t respond appropriately (ie. make changes) then you’re more likely to experience more failure and the cycle goes on.
But if you experience success then you’re more likely to continue experiencing success. So start with small achievable goals. Give yourself permission to succeed and then continue on the path to your goals and dreams.
R – Realistic. This is different to being achievable. Realistic to me means simply that you are willing and able to do what needs to be done.
I know what you’re thinking. If this is my goal and I wrote it down, of course I’m willing and able to do it. But the truth is that most people are not. Most seem to value their own sleep more than truly chasing their goal. Many are looking for the elusive ‘work/life balance’ which I’m here to tell you is a myth because if your work life isn’t good then neither is your home life, and vice versa.
As an example, if you’re ‘Goal’ is to be a Medical Doctor, a GP, but you refuse to go to Uni, then this is not realistic and you will never reach your goal.
I know that oversimplifies it but I have so often heard people talk about these goals they have, and yet they refuse to ‘Go to University’ or they refuse to do what needs to be done to achieve the goal.
The trick here is to be open and honest with yourself about what you want or if you really even want it. Only you know the truth when it comes down to ‘Are you willing and able to do what needs to be done to achieve this goal?’
T – Time-frame You tie your goals together by having a time frame. There must be an end date for each specific goal, and a series of end dates (and smaller goals) when it comes to achieving bigger goals.
As an example with the fitness goals above. You could write: I want to run 5km non-stop by the 1st July 2014 and I will train a minimum of three times a week to get there.
This goal is now specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and has a time-frame.
‘You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to star to be great.’